If you live in a house, sooner or later you will have a plumbing issue. From leaky faucets to broken pipes, plumbing issues can run the gamut from simple fixes to major reconstruction. Read on to learn the most common plumbing issues, fixes you can perform at home, and when it's time to call a professional.
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Low water pressure will cause your water to trickle out of your faucets or showerheads at a slow rate. If the problem occurs with a faucet, cleaning the aerator may fix your problem. For slow shower heads, a soak in vinegar should remove built-up sediment and get your water flowing again.
If you have a drain that takes forever to empty or a toilet that runs slowly, a clog is to blame. You can use a chemical drain cleaner, plunger, or plumber's snake to clear out minor clogs near the drain. If ignored, clogs will continue to grow until the drain is completely blocked.
Signs that you have a slowly leaking pipe include bubbling paint, wet drywall, discolored ceilings, and stained/corroded pipes. Slow leaks can be temporarily sealed up by tightening joints or using a product such as epoxy putty. Slow leaks should be addressed before they become a major problem.
Every drain has a trap and a vent to keep sewer gas out of your home. A trap keeps sewer gas in check by plugging the drain line with water, while vents move the sewer gas up and out of your roof. If you are smelling sewer gas, you either have a dry trap or a break in your vent line. Check your traps for leaks and refill any dry traps with water.
Very cloudy or bubbly water usually indicates a lot of air in the lines. If your municipality recently flushed the water lines or fire hydrants, your water may be temporarily discolored yellow or even brown. In this situation, the water should run clear after a few minutes.
A broken pipe can result from water freezing in the line or elevated water pressure. Although broken pipes can occur at any time, winter is the season when most homeowners will experience a burst pipe. Winter temperatures freeze the water in uninsulated pipes, causing them to burst. You can avoid frozen pipes by keeping your home set at 55 degrees or higher and covering your pipes with foam insulation.
Plumbing maintenance is a vital part of keeping your home safe and clean. You should regularly check for pipe leaks and corrosion. Take note of watermarks on your walls, musty smells, and mold. Deep clean your faucets and periodically clean out your drains to prevent sediment buildup and clogs. Flushing out your water heater will prevent sediment buildup and corrosion over time. In cooler months, be sure to disconnect outdoor hoses, shut off outdoor water valves, drain outdoor water pipes, and insulate all outdoor spigots and pipes.
Image via Flickr by Dean Hochman
Make sure you are using your garbage disposal properly. Garbage disposals are only made to handle soft food waste. Never put raw potato peels, grease, eggshells, and bones in your disposal. Newer, more powerful garbage disposals are available and can handle more food waste.
A running toilet isn't just annoying, it wastes a lot of water and can lead to astronomical water bills. Running toilets may also overflow, causing water damage to your home. Generally, replacing your flapper or float will solve the problem. If your toilet is still running, you may have a broken valve that should be replaced by a plumber.
If you are in the Chicago area and need plumbing advice, Dahme Mechanical Industry Inc. is your local 24/7 emergency plumbing provider. Our company has been family-owned since 1965 and we are dedicated to keeping your family safe and healthy. Call our plumbing hotline to talk to an experienced staff member today.